Police Sgt. Kyle Cross vividly remembers the night when he and his Highway Patrol partner, Andy Chan, responded to the 2015 Amtrak train derailment.
They were among the first ones to make it to the rear of the train, which crashed in Port Richmond.
“It was almost like a movie,” Cross said. “The dust was still in the air from the incident. So many people were injured, some just traumatically injured.”
“Andy went. I kind of just followed his lead, and we just tried to remove as many people safely from the train that night as we could,” he added.
Nearly a year ago, on Jan. 3, Chan, 49, was riding his motorcycle to work when he was hit by a van on the 3100 block of Rhawn Street, near Pennypack Park. He suffered a traumatic brain injury.
In a Fox29 interview, his wife, Teng, said Chan is in a “minimally conscious state.” He’s at a rehabilitation center and his condition is improving, but he still has a long way to go.
Cross, who visits Chan often, said his former partner recognizes family and friends. They’re hopeful he is going to make a full recovery.
“He is out of a coma,” Cross told reporters at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 in the Far Northeast. “He is showing emotion, whether it be us just speaking to him or showing photos or videos.”
“It’s coming up on a year, but a year is a very short time for a traumatic brain injury,” he added. “That’s what most of the doctors have told us.”
Cross said Chan’s family is holding up. He said they have a strong support system, especially in Chinatown, where Chan grew up.
Chan, a 24-year veteran of the police department, is a father of three. He joined the elite Highway Patrol Unit in 2004.
“Andy just had a smile on his face everyday,” Cross said. “He’s just so proud everyday to put that Highway Patrol uniform on.”
Last week, Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation held a pub crawl to benefit Chan’s family. Six bars on 2nd Street in Old City took part, and participants received a wristband that made them eligible for drink discounts and raffle prizes.
Even before the event, Families Behind the Badge had raised more than $12,000 for Chan through online giving.
“There’s been an amazing outpouring of support for Andy here in the greater Philadelphia area,” said Garrett Smith, who helped organize the pub crawl.
“The support is unbelievable, not only within the Philadelphia Police Department but other departments across the country,” he said. ••